UK sales of Volkswagen cars fell by 20% in November in the wake of the diesel emissions scandal, industry figures show.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said there were 12,958 VW registrations last month, compared to 16,196 in November 2014.
It comes after VW admitted in September that it fitted sophisticated software to cheat emissions tests for nitrogen oxides in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, including almost 1.2 million in the UK.
The SMMT figures also showed declines for other brands owned by the German carmaker, with SEAT down 24%, Skoda off 11% and Audi declining by 4%.
But some other carmakers also saw sales fall in November compared with last year, with Fiat down 21% and Nissan dropping by 18% while total sales of Citroen and its DS sub-brand were 3% lower.
The figures showed overall registrations for the month were up 3.8% to 178,876.
It followed a decline of 1.1% in October, the first in 44 months.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “November’s figures come as a reminder of the strength of the UK car market, as low interest rates and competitive finance deals continue to attract consumers to new car ownership.
“We have been expecting a levelling-off in demand for some time now – a development that is being realised following an unprecedented three-and-a-half years of non-stop growth.”
VW has replaced its chief executive since the emissions scandal broke.
It has set aside €6.7bn (£4.8bn) to deal with the fall-out – a figure which is expected to rise.
The scandal deepened further last month when the company revealed it had found irregularities in carbon emissions which may affect 800,000 vehicles – meaning for the first time petrol as well as diesel cars were affected.
Jim Holder, editorial director of magazines Autocar and What Car?, said he believed VW’s sales figures were a direct result of the diesel scandal.
“There’s a lot of evidence they have lost the trust of the buyers and that is starting to come through.
“They are going to face several difficult months now while they have to rebuild.
“There is no hiding it any more. They have to take it on the chin and accept that the customers have a lot of choice of very good cars.”
Volkswagen declined to comment on the reasons behind the sales fall but a spokesman pointed to the fact that for the year-to-date they are still 4.5% ahead.
Figures earlier this week showed US sales of Volkswagen brand cars fell 25% last month compared to the prior year.